- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
TAMPA — As the Tampa Bay Lightning try to become the first NHL team to win three straight Stanley Cups since 1983, they felt they needed all the good fortune they could muster. So they asked for “the ultimate act of fandom” from the Lightning faithful: lending their personal lucky charms to the team.
Which is quite a request, given how superstitious everyone is during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
They called it “A Call To Charms.” The Lightning collected everything from jewelry to dolls to jerseys to a cardboard cutout of Bernie Lomax from the film “Weekend at Bernie’s,” and had fans place them inside a large transparent lightning bolt. At home games, the good luck charms are displayed in the concourse of the 300 level. The bolt is packed into a large trunk and travels with the team when it hits the road.
The fans who submitted their trinkets were spotlighted on the Lightning’s official website. They include:
Raymond Bonn, “Barry the Stress Relief Cow” — “During the five-overtime game [in 2020], he got trotted out and we just started squeezing. Of course, coincidentally, the moment he was squeezed, Brayden Point scores the overtime game-winning goal. Barry is a legend now,” Bonn told the Lightning.
Stanton Family, “Lightning Tikis” — The family created a Lightning-theme tiki heading into the playoffs, watched the team win the Cup, and then felt obligated to do one again this season for good luck.
Paul Driscoll, “Nikita Chiquita shirt” — Driscoll ate a plum before every Lightning playoff game in 2020. In 2021, he switched to bananas. To honor the return of star winger Nikita Kucherov from surgery, he created a T-shirt with the Russian star as a banana that read “Nikita Chiquita.”
RJ & Luly Martin, “Plastic Goal Light” — “It was my mom’s. She was a huge Lightning fan and she passed away three years ago. It just means a lot to be able to share our luck with the team, and now that she’s still a part of the Lightning,” Martin told the team.
So far, the Lightning have lived a charmed postseason life, advancing to the 2022 Eastern Conference finals — further than any of the previous five teams that attempted a three-peat since the early 1980s.
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